Shivanath and Shivram Sahu have survived to the age of 12 years attached to each other at the waist, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
The pair were born in a tiny village near Raipur in central India.
They share two legs, four arms, and the same stomach. They have independent lungs, hearts and brains.
Despite serious disabilities, they have managed to beat the odds. With one out of 200,000 births being conjoined, chances of surviving birth are rare. Most conjoined twins are stillborn. Conjoined twins occur when the zygote, the initial cell formed by sexual reproduction, fails to completely separate.
The boys have learnt to work together in tandem to get around, often being referred to as spider-like when they drop to the floor and walk around on their 4 hands and 2 legs.
With practice, they have learned to do all their daily basic chores with minimal fuss, this includes showering, getting dressed, eating, and combing/grooming each other.
Shivanath often tires way before his brother, but Shivram is very patient and understanding. The boys never argue and love to play cricket and other games with the neighbouring children.
Both boys, no surprise to their father Raj, are considered among the smartest in their class.
The boys have five sisters and all are very protective of the boys, so much so the boys know that they are forbidden to leave the village where they are accepted and safe.
Doctors in India where the boys reside, believe they could be successfully separated, but the two are determined to stay together. An operation would give Shivram both legs and he would be able to be rehabilitated to live a normal life, however Shivanath would be left with no legs and needing full time care. Shivanath the weaker of the two would also be more susceptible to disease and infection.
Father Raj first must consider how it would affect the boys both psychologically and physically. Then they would have to consider rehabilitation and how long this would take. And of course cost is also a factor. Such surgery is extremely expensive.
The children appear to be fairly well adjusted and their organs are no immediate concern to their ongoing health.
For now, both the boys and their father are adamant that they will not be parted, however the boys doctor, Dr Chugh believes that over time, hopefully their attitude will change, so the boys can finally live independent lives.